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Found 501 results
  1. News Article
    A 33-year-old New Zealand woman who was accused of faking debilitating symptoms has died of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Stephanie Aston became an advocate for patients' rights after doctors refused to take her EDS symptoms seriously and blamed them on mental illness. She was just 25 when those symptoms began in October 2015. At the time, she did not know she had inherited the health condition. EDS refers to a group of inherited disorders caused by gene mutations that weaken the connective tissues. There are at least 13 different types of EDS, and the conditions range from mild to life-threatening. EDS is extremely rare. Aston sought medical help after her symptoms—which included severe migraines, abdominal pain, joint dislocations, easy bruising, iron deficiency, fainting, tachycardia, and multiple injuries—began in 2015, per the New Zealand Herald. She was referred to Auckland Hospital, where a doctor accused her of causing her own illness. Because of his accusations, Aston was placed on psychiatric watch. She had to undergo rectal examinations and was accused of practising self-harming behaviours. She was suspected of faking fainting spells, fevers, and coughing fits, and there were also suggestions that her mother was physically harming her. There was no basis for the doctor’s accusations that her illness was caused by psychiatric issues, Aston told the New Zealand Herald. “There was no evaluation prior to this, no psych consultation, nothing,” she said. She eventually complained to the Auckland District Health Board and the Health and Disability Commissioner of New Zealand. “I feel like I have had my dignity stripped and my rights seriously breached,” she said. Read full story Source: The Independent, 6 September 2023
  2. Content Article
    Suicide and non-fatal self-harm represent key patient safety events in mental healthcare services. However, examples of optimal practice that help to keep patients safe also often important learning for organisations and healthcare professionals. This study in BMC Psychiatry aimed to explore clinicians’ views of what constitutes good practice in mental healthcare services in the context of suicide prevention. The study highlighted clinicians’ views on good practice specific to mental health services that focus on enhancing patient safety via prevention of self-harm and suicide. The authors concluded that clinicians possess important understanding of optimal practice, but there are few opportunities to share such insight on a broader scale. A further challenge is to implement optimal practice into routine, daily care to improve patient safety and reduce suicide risk.
  3. Content Article
    A large number of people live with long-term breathlessness that has a significant impact on their daily lives. For some, breathlessness is not directly linked to an underlying, diagnosable illness, and these people can struggle to access effective treatment and support. In this interview, respiratory doctor Anna Moore explains some of the causes of breathlessness including its links to a wide range of socioeconomic factors. She outlines the person-centred, multi-disciplinary approach her team at Barts Health is taking to help people overcome breathlessness and highlights the need for more research in this area.
  4. Community Post
    Hi, we at patient Safety Learning are looking to hold a virtual round table in the last week of June to look at how to improve patient safety related to the implementation of EPRs. If you are a clinician who has been directly involved with the roll out of an EPR, then you could be part of the event. All notes taken at the event will follow Chatham House rules and your participation will not be disclosed outside the round table group if that is your preference. If you'd like to be involved, please contact me (Clive Flashman) directly at support@pslhub.org Many thanks, Clive
  5. Content Article
    Little is known as to whether the effects of physician sex on patients’ clinical outcomes vary by patient sex. This study examined whether the association between physician sex and hospital outcomes varied between female and male patients hospitalised with medical conditions. The findings indicate that patients have lower mortality and readmission rates when treated by female physicians, and the benefit of receiving treatments from female physicians is larger for female patients than for male patients.
  6. News Article
    The amount of time doctors have to spend doing compulsory training will be cut as part of an NHS drive to improve medics’ working lives, the Guardian can reveal. Concern that doctors have too heavy a burden of mandatory training has prompted NHS England to commission a review, which it is expected to announce imminently. It is aimed at reducing the need for doctors to undertake what for some can be up to as many as 33 sessions of training every year, depending on what stage of their career they are at. Each lasts between 30 minutes and several hours and together take about a day to complete. NHS bosses have briefed medical groups and health service care providers on the plan, which they hope will address one of the many frustrations that some doctors – especially recently qualified doctors – have about working in the service, alongside pay, constant pressure and poor working environments. Prof Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, confirmed the review. “While statutory and mandatory training provides NHS staff with core knowledge and skills that support safe and effective working, we know that needing to repeat the same training courses every year isn’t the best use of a clinician’s time. So it’s right that we look to find ways to cut back on this, while still considering our legal obligations,” he said. “Cutting red tape and ensuring this type of training is only carried out when necessary – for example, when junior doctors move between hospitals – will not only be better for our staff, who will spend less time worrying about training to adhere to legal requirements, but will also benefit patients by freeing up clinicians’ time for care and treatment." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 April 2024
  7. News Article
    Hospitals which rely heavily on locum doctors are 'undoubtedly' risking patient safety, a study of NHS practice found. While temporary staff are a 'vital resource' to plug workforce gaps, issues such as unfamiliarity with protocols and procedures mean they 'pose significant patient safety challenges' for the NHS, experts say. The report warned many were left feeling isolated and stigmatised by resident staff, creating a 'hostile environment'. This has led to a 'defensive' culture over mistakes, hindering improvements to care, according to researchers. Calling for greater monitoring by inspectors, NHS leaders must rethink how these professionals are supported and used, the authors said. Writing in a linked editorial, Professor Richard Lilford, of the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham, said the findings suggested 'the life of the locum is a difficult and lonely one, opening up many pathways to unsafe practice.' Likening it to airline pilots, he suggested staff would benefit from standardised practices – such as how the medicine cabinet is stocked – to minimise mistakes. Agencies providing staff should be given routine feedback by employers and locum staff, to enhance patient safety, he said. Read full story Source: MailOnline, 16 April 2024
  8. Content Article
    The use of temporary doctors, known as locums, has been common practice for managing staffing shortages and maintaining service delivery internationally. However, there has been little empirical research on the implications of locum working for quality and safety. This study aimed to investigate the implications of locum working for quality and safety. The participants of the study described the implications of locum working for quality and safety across five themes: (1) ‘familiarity’ with an organisation and its patients and staff was essential to delivering safe care; (2) ‘balance and stability’ of services reliant on locums were seen as at risk of destabilisation and lacking leadership for quality improvement; (3) ‘discrimination and exclusion’ experienced by locums had negative implications for morale, retention and patient outcomes; (4) ‘defensive practice’ by locums as a result of perceptions of increased vulnerability and decreased support; (5) clinical governance arrangements, which often did not adequately cover locum doctors. The study concluded that locum working and how locums were integrated into organisations posed some significant challenges and opportunities for patient safety and quality of care. Organisations should take stock of how they work with the locum workforce to improve not only quality and safety but also locum experience and retention.
  9. Event
    The TIPSQI Annual Quality Improvement Showcase returns once again in a virtual format. This virtual conference is open to all foundation doctors in the UK. This is a fantastic opportunity to present your QI project as a virtual poster or oral presentation; hear about other projects in the region; and hear our key note speaker Dr Hannah Baird, the founder of TIPS QI, alongside being higher specialty registrar in emergency medicine, Chief Registrar at Royal Bolton Hospital, the Vice-Chair of the Academy of Medical Trainees Doctors Group and the Co-Chair of the Emergency Medicine Trainees Association (RCEM). Junior doctors from around the UK will be presenting their quality improvement projects, highlighting some of the excellent leadership work being carried out amongst foundation doctors. There shall be prizes for the best projects, as well as the opportunity to learn more about the great QI work across the UK. Register
  10. Content Article
    In this article for the Lancet, Richard Horton reflects on the failure of medical education systems around to look after their students. He highlights reports of large proportions of medical students reporting burnout and feeling unappreciated and calls for an overhaul of the medical education system.
  11. Content Article
    This cohort study in JAMA Network Open explored whether the empathy displayed by doctors has an impact on the outcomes of patients with chronic pain. 1470 adults with chronic low back pain were included in the study, in which empathy was more strongly associated with favourable outcomes than nonpharmacological treatments, opioid therapy and lumbar spine surgery. The findings suggest that empathy is an important aspect of the patient-doctor relationship and is associated with better outcomes among patients with chronic pain.
  12. News Article
    Drugs are a cornerstone of medicine, but sometimes doctors make mistakes when prescribing them and patients don’t take them properly. A new AI tool developed at Oxford University aims to tackle both those problems. DrugGPT offers a safety net for clinicians when they prescribe medicines and gives them information that may help their patients better understand why and how to take them. Doctors and other healthcare professionals who prescribe medicines will be able to get an instant second opinion by entering a patient’s conditions into the chatbot. Prototype versions respond with a list of recommended drugs and flag up possible adverse effects and drug-drug interactions. “One of the great things is that it then explains why,” said Prof David Clifton, whose team at Oxford’s AI for Healthcare lab led the project. “It will show you the guidance – the research, flowcharts and references – and why it recommends this particular drug.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 31 March 2024
  13. News Article
    An NHS watchdog has apologised to 29 doctors at Scotland's biggest hospital for not fully investigating their concerns about patient safety. A&E consultants at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital wrote to Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to warn patient safety was being "seriously compromised". They offered 18 months' worth of evidence of overcrowding and staff shortages to back their claims. But HIS did not ask for this evidence. The watchdog also did not meet any of the 29 doctors - which is almost every consultant in the hospital's emergency department - to discuss the concerns after it received the letter last year. Instead, it carried out an investigation where it only spoke to senior executives at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde before then closing down the probe. HIS has now issued a "sincere and unreserved apology" to the consultants and upheld two complaints about the way it handled their whistleblowing letter about patient safety. One consultant who signed the letter told BBC Scotland: "We'd exhausted all our options and thought HIS was a credible organisation. "We offered to share evidence of patient harm. We were shocked that they ignored this and didn't engage with us as the consultant group raising concerns." Another consultant added they were "shocked at their negligence." Read full story Source: BBC News, 25 March 2024
  14. Content Article
    Doctors working in temporary positions (known as locums) are a key component of the medical workforce and provide necessary flexibility and additional capacity for NHS organisations and services. There have been concerns about the quality and safety of locum practice and the way NHS uses locum doctors. The number of doctors working as locums, and the costs of this to the NHS have caused some concerns nationally in recent years. It has also been suggested that locum doctors may not provide as good a quality of care as permanent doctors. Research carried out by a team at the University of Manchester provided important new information on these issues. The findings indicated that locum working and how locums were integrated into organisations could pose significant challenges for patient safety and quality of care.
  15. News Article
    A doctor working at a women’s health clinic in Melbourne has been suspended as a regulator revealed it was aware of concerns about other practitioners there. The facility’s boss claims it is a “witch hunt”. It follows the death of 30-year-old mother Harjit Kaur, who died in January at the Hampton Park Women’s Clinic after what was described as a “minor procedure”. It was later identified as a pregnancy termination. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has confirmed Dr Rudolph Lopes’ registration had been suspended but did not reveal the reason behind the decision. His registration details show he was reprimanded in 2021 for failing to respond to the regulator’s inquiries. “[The regulator] has received a range of concerns about a number of practitioners associated with the Hampton Park Women’s Clinic,” Ahpra said in a statement. “[The regulator] has established a specialist team to lead a co-ordinated examination of these issues which involve multiple practitioners across a number of professions and across a number of practice locations.” Ahpra chief executive, Martin Fletcher, said he was “gravely concerned by the picture that is emerging.” “We have taken strong action to protect the public while our investigations continue,” Fletcher said. “National boards stand ready to take any further regulatory action needed to keep patients safe. “While the coroner continues to examine the tragic death of a patient, our inquiries are focusing on a wider range of issues that our investigations bring to light.” Read more Source: The Guardian, 15 March 2024
  16. Content Article
    A new BMA report, “It’s broken” Doctors’ experiences on the frontline of a failing mental healthcare system", based on first-hand accounts of doctors working across the NHS, reveals a ‘broken’ system of mental health services in England. The current economic cost of mental ill health has been estimated to be over £100 billion in England alone*, but this report demonstrates that across the NHS, doctors are in an ongoing struggle to give patients the care they need because the funding is just not enough, there are not enough staff, and the infrastructure and systems are not fit for purpose. The report makes plain that without a concerted effort from central government to resource mental healthcare based on demand (which continues to grow beyond what the NHS can respond to) as well as changes in society to promote good mental health, the future looks bleak. The BMA carried out in-depth interviews with doctors across the mental health system, including those working in psychiatry, general practice, emergency medicine, and public health.
  17. News Article
    The doctor in charge of medical training for NHS England has apologised unreservedly to the family of a medic who took her own life. Dr Vaish Kumar, a junior doctor, left a suicide note blaming her death entirely on the hospital where she worked, her family revealed last year. Dr Kumar, 35, was wrongly told she needed to do a further six months of training before starting a new role. It meant she was forced to stay at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) in Birmingham, where she had been belittled by colleagues, an inquest heard. In a letter to Dr Kumar's family, seen by the BBC, NHS bosses admitted she did not need to do the extra training. Dr Navina Evans, chief workforce and training education officer for England, told the family in the letter: "I wish to unreservedly apologise for these mistakes and for the impact they would have had. "As an organisation we are determined to learn... not only across the Midlands but across England as a whole." Read full story Source: BBC News, 13 February 2024
  18. Content Article
    Doctors in Distress is a UK-based independent charity that promotes and protects the mental health of all healthcare workers and prevents suicides in the medical profession. It was set up in 2018 by Amandip Sidhu following the suicide of his brother Jagdip, a consultant cardiologist, with the aim of providing support for healthcare staff facing burnout and mental health difficulties. The charity runs free online support groups and webinars for healthcare professionals and students. Previous webinars can be viewed on the Doctors in Distress YouTube channel.
  19. News Article
    Doctors have warned of the risks of “freebirthing” – where a woman gives birth without the help of a medic or midwife. Unassisted births, or “freebirths”, are thought to have been on the increase since the start of the Covid pandemic, when people may have been worried about attending hospitals and home births were suspended in many areas. The practice is not illegal and women have the right to decline any care during their pregnancy and delivery. Some women hire a doula to support them during birth. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said women should be supported to have the birth they choose, but “safety is paramount” and families need to be aware of the risks of going it alone. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it is in the early stages of collaboration with the Chief Midwifery Officer’s teams, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Department of Health to better understand professional concerns about freebirthing and what organisations may need to do. Its statement on unassisted births supports women’s choice, but notes that “midwives are understandably concerned about women giving birth at home without assistance, as it brings with it increased risks to both the mother and baby”. It also states that women need to be informed that a midwife may not be available to be sent out to their home during labour if they change their mind and wish to have help. Read full story Source: The Independent, 8 February 2024
  20. News Article
    Working with physician and anaesthesia associates actually increases a doctor’s workload rather than freeing up time to focus on care of patients, a BMA survey finds.1 The association surveyed more than 18 000 UK doctors to inform its position on physician and anaesthesia associates. Some 55% (7397 of 13 344 who responded to this question) reported that their workload had risen since the employment of medical associate professionals, with only 21% (2799 of 13 344) reporting a decreased workload. The House of Lords will shortly consider legislation to regulate physician associates under the General Medical Council rather than the Health and Care Professions Council. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 2 February 2024
  21. Content Article
    Join Alan Lindemann, an obstetrics-gynecology physician, who shares his insights and real-life experiences, shedding light on the issues surrounding patient care, medical decision-making, and the role of institutions and personal connections in shaping health care outcomes. Discover how the pursuit of quality care can sometimes be obstructed by self-interest and the need to protect reputations. Alan also proposes innovative ideas to enhance transparency and public involvement in health care quality assurance.
  22. News Article
    A group of doctors with Long Covid are preparing to launch a class action for compensation after contracting SARS-CoV-2 at work. The campaign and advocacy group Long Covid Doctors for Action (LCD4A) has engaged the law firm Bond Turner to bring claims for any physical injuries and financial losses sustained by frontline workers who were not properly protected at work. On 25 January Bond Turner, which specialises in negligence cases, complex litigation, and group actions, launched a call to action inviting doctors and other healthcare workers in England and Wales to make contact if they believe that they contracted covid-19 as a result of occupational exposure.1 Sara Stanger, the firm’s director and head of clinical negligence and serious injury claims, said that the ultimate aim was to achieve “legal accountability and justice for those injured.” She told The BMJ, “I’ve spoken to hundreds of doctors with long covid, and many of them have had their lives derailed. Some have lost their jobs and their homes; they are in financial ruin. Their illnesses have had far reaching consequences in all areas of their lives.” Read full story Source: BMJ, 25 January 2024 Nurses, midwives, and any other healthcare workers who are suffering with Long Covid and which they believe they contracted through their work and who wish to join the action should visit the Bond Turner website here: https://www.bondturner.com/services/covid-group-claim/. Although this action has been initiated by doctors in the first instance, it is not limited to doctors. Further reading on the hub: Questions around Government governance My experience of suspected 'Long COVID' How will NHS staff with Long Covid be supported?
  23. News Article
    Theatre staff at a major hospital “deliberately slowed down” elective activity to limit the number of operations that could be done each day, an NHS England review has been told. The culture in theatres at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, run by East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, was a “significant issue” according to an education quality intervention review report into trauma and orthopaedic training at the hospital. The review, dated October and made public by NHSE in December 2023, was launched after concerns were raised by staff at the trust in the General Medical Council’s national training survey, published every July. Problems raised by junior doctors and their supervisors to the NHSE review included perceptions that juniors were made to feel uncomfortable by the trauma theatre team and that there was also “animosity” from the trauma theatre team towards surgeons. The review said trauma theatre staff were heard “bragging” about their behaviour towards surgeons and that they resisted the number of cases scheduled on a list, claiming it was “unrealistic". Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 19 January 2024
  24. Content Article
    This study published in the BMJ evaluated the effect of chair placement on length of time physicians sit during a bedside consultation and patients’ satisfaction. The study concluded that chair placement is a simple, no cost, low tech intervention that increases a physician’s likelihood of sitting during a bedside consultation and resulted in higher patients’ scores for both satisfaction and communication.
  25. News Article
    Senior doctors are urging MPs to reject government plans to regulate “physician associates”, whose growing use in the NHS has divided the medical profession. The British Medical Association has said that allowing the General Medical Council (GMC) to regulate physician associates (PAs) would “blur the lines” between doctors and non-doctors. Many medics are opposed to the increased use of PAs, who they fear patients will wrongly see as doctors, even though they do not have a medical degree. They have expressed concern that letting the GMC – which regulates doctors – regulate PAs from April, as ministers plan, is “potentially dangerous” because it could confuse the public, diminish the status of doctors, and leave patients at risk of being treated by someone without the appropriate skills. The BMA is running advertisements in the Guardian and on social media asking MPs on a Commons committee examining the plan to vote against it when they consider it on Thursday. “PAs are not the same as doctors, and blurring the lines can have tragic consequences for patients who think they have seen a doctor when they have not,” the adverts say. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 18 January 2024
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